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Surge in LRA children abductions in Central African Republic

Surge in LRA children abductions in Central African Republic

Central African Republic

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has abducted 217 people since January in the Central African Republic (CAR), a campaign group has said.

This is nearly double the number of abductions carried out by the LRA in 2015, said the LRA Crisis Tracker in a report posted on the BBC.

LRA, also known as the Lord’s Resistant Movement, is a rebel group and an heterodox Christian cult which operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The group said the victims including 54 children may have been forced to become soldiers or sex slaves.

It added that the LRA appear to be trying to “replenish” its forces because of military setbacks.

The rebel group had suffered setbacks since foreign forces began pursuing it in 2011.

The US had deployed 100 special forces to support thousands of African troops searching for LRA commanders.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for its leader, Joseph Kony to stand trial for war crimes.

His former bodyguard, George Okot defected in December last year.

A member of the Invisible Children campaign group, Sean Poole, said LRA has lost a large number of its fighting force and is trying to rebuild its force through abductions.

“The spike in abductions in the first three months of this year signalled a ‘huge change in the modus operandi’ of the LRA.”

The LRA was formed in northern Uganda nearly three decades ago, but retreated to CAR and other countries as it came under military pressure.